Reddit files to go public as ‘RDDT’ on NYSE

SAN FRANCISCO – Reddit on Thursday told US stock regulators that it plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “RDDT.”

Reddit did not provide details regarding the number or price of shares nor when the initial public offering would occur.

This will be the first stock market debut of an online social network since Pinterest went public in 2019.

Founded in 2005, the platform is home to more than 100,000 online communities devoted to a sweeping range of topics and was visited by an average of 76 million people daily in December, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“They come to Reddit to participate in a vibrant community, a constantly evolving place where anyone, anywhere, can connect with like-minded people and dive into any topic,” co-founder and chief executive Steve Huffman said in the letter.

Communities on the platform are referred to as “subreddits,” and one devoted to music star Taylor Swift eclipsed a million members last year, according to the filing.

Reddit is known for “Ask Me Anything” sessions during which influential people ranging from tech titans and athletes to celebrities and politicians field questions from users.

Like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, Reddit’s business model is based on advertising, but despite its popularity the platform has never managed to turn a profit.

Reddit had a net loss of $90.8 million in 2023 on revenue of $804 million, according to the filing.

The financial performance was an improvement from the $158.5 million it lost the previous year when it brought in revenue of $666 million.

AI training

Plans for monetization include licensing data for training large language models (LLMs) that power artificial intelligence, according to the filing.

“Reddit’s vast and unmatched archive of real, timely and relevant human conversation on literally any topic is an invaluable dataset for a variety of purposes, including search, AI training, and research,” Huffman wrote.

“We expect our data advantage and intellectual property to continue to be a key element in the training of future LLMs.”

Last year moderators of communities at Reddit held a major protest over new fees for developer access to the platform.

Huffman had been unwilling to allow companies that build AI chatbots like ChatGPT to have free access to the site to perfect their large-language models.

“Reddit needs to be a self-sustaining business, and to do that, we can no longer subsidize commercial entities that require large-scale data use,” Huffman wrote in a Reddit post at the time.

Publishing giant Conde Nast bought Reddit in late 2006 and later spun it off into an independent subsidiary.

The company is now working on ways for users to earn money on the platform.

“Today, subreddits are mostly communities for content and conversation, and they will evolve into places where Redditors can generate revenue for themselves,” Huffman said.

He credited Reddit communities with “campaigning for net neutrality in 2015, starting the March for Science in 2017, or standing up for retail investors, as r/wallstreetbets did in 2021.”

The Wall Street Bets subreddit fueled a GameStop share runup in 2021 in a frenzy that inspired a US congressional inquiry and the film “Dumb Money.” – AFP / pic TMR FILE